The District of Sparwood, in partnership with Teck and the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, is working to get a new well up and running as a new drinking water supply source for the town.
Well #4 will replace Well #3 after water quality data suggested that there is surface water infiltration into the well water during seasonal low flow conditions. In these conditions, selenium concentrations in the river water are at their highest levels. These seasonal selenium levels exceed the British Columbia Drinking Water Quality Guidelines (BCDWQG) as well as the well operating permit that is held by the district.
In the past, the District of Sparwood has managed this issue by shutting down Well #3 and instead using water from Well #1 and Well #2. These two wells have selenium concentrations that are well below the BCDWQG and are not affected by the seasonal influx of the mineral.
To address the issue with Well #3, the Environmental Assessment Office, in collaboration with different provincial agencies, Teck and the district developed Condition 10. This condition requires the monitoring and replacement of the unusable well by Teck. As a result, Teck is covering all costs associated with the construction and water quality testing of the new Well #4.
“At Teck, nothing is more important than the health of the people and the environment and we’re pleased to work collaboratively with the District of Sparwood on the Well #4 initiative,” said Larry Davey, vice president planning and development for Teck Coal.
The District of Sparwood has hired qualified professionals to support the evaluation, design and construction of the new well and all of the related infrastructure that goes with it. The district will be working in partnership with Teck to review and update the overall Water Quality Plan. They will also conduct monthly water quality assessments for all of Sparwood’s drinking water wells.
“We are please that Teck recognizes that safe, potable water to the District of Sparwood is of great importance,” said Sparwood mayor David Wilks. “We thank Teck for their cooperation and look forward to working with them on other projects in the future.”